For a manager who has displayed a faith in his squad that could be described as blind and embarrassing, Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has finally admitted just how much injury to Fernando Torres has damaged his side.
Following recent draws with Wigan, Everton and Manchester City as well as that narrow win at Portsmouth, Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough looks to have delivered a reality check that was long overdue, as Rafa held a meeting with his squad to get to the bottom of the matter.
After much soul-searching, however, the rather obvious conclusion has been reached that they are over-reliant on El Niño.
The freckle-faced Spaniard has still managed to net eight goals in 15 league appearances this season, but on too many occasions in his absence his side have failed to convert drab draws into unconvincing wins, and they have drawn twice as many games as Manchester United.
Torres's match-winning cameo at Pompey in particular proved that - much like University Challenge contestant Gail Trimble, who led Corpus Christi college to the quiz show's championship virtually single-handedly - his team don't stand a chance of winning anything without him.
And, as with Trimble, he has had to sit back and look on in astonishment as elementary mistakes from team-mates have seen him stripped of a title that at one time appeared to be in the bag and seen it land in the hands of Mancunian opposition.
Benitez said: "The title was difficult before, it is more difficult now. What we have to do is take our chances, and that is something that has been the same problem the whole season.
"Maybe if Torres had not been injured so much things would be different, but we cannot change the situation now. Everybody has players who get injured.
"The worst thing has been the injuries to Torres. He has been our main striker and scored a lot of goals for us last season. And this season could have been totally different with him."
Or, indeed, if he had another decent striker. Robbie Keane may not have been a player he wanted to sign, but his outright rejection of the Irishman now looks to have been a hasty error given the 'performance' of Nabil El-Zhar at Boro.
In the midst of all the rants, boardroom in-fighting and baffling team selections, it's easy to forget that Liverpool are still on course for their best league finish in years.
However, with Chelsea and Arsenal also faltering this year, and Aston Villa still on an overall upward trajectory, they may have a to wait a while for another chance to win the league as good as they've had this season.
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In a parallel universe, tonight's Premier League fixtures will no doubt be hysterically branded 'Triple-bill Tuesday' or some other such nonsense.
In that far-off dimension, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal's respective games with Sunderland, Portsmouth and West Brom are part of a thrilling four-horse title race.
In reality, however, we now have Liverpool and Chelsea battling it out over second and third place - even though both finishes will see them qualify automatically for the group stage of next season's Champions League thanks to a change in the rules.
Even worse, we have UEFA Cup shoo-ins Arsenal - who have only scored one goal in their last five games against top flight opposition - travelling to play a West Brom side who have only scored more goals than Middlesbrough. And these are supposed to be the two sides in the division who try their hardest to play the beautiful game.
So hard is it to hype up these fixtures that many of the papers have resorted to reporting Guus Hiddink saying something that sounded vaguely like Kevin Keegan's infamous "I'd love it" rant (actual quote: "I would love to stop him (Alex Ferguson) in this aim (winning five trophies)". Not exactly stirring stuff.
Keegan himself is, according to a League Managers Association statement, currently engaged in an arbitration process with Newcastle over his dismissal last year, meaning he could be back in the hunt for a job soon.
It's true what they say; you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "She will simply swoop down and land on his arm and he will be able to take the pouch containing the rings from her leg. I will be standing behind him and then the bird will hop on to my arm and the job will be done. It's never gone wrong yet but one never knows." - Mike Roberts, head falconer of Peckforton Castle, does a great job of tempting fate while describing how Ollie the Barn Owl will swoop down to deliver the rings at Rio Ferdinand's wedding in August.
FOREIGN VIEW: "Hertha star and his two wives" - Bild reckon they've discovered the reason why Hertha Berlin striker Andriy Voronin has fired his team to the top of the Bundesliga with four goals in his last five games: his ex-wife Katarina has finally learnt to get on with new spouse and style icon Yulia.
COMING UP: LIVE commentary of three Premier League super-exciting clashes - Portsmouth v Chelsea, West Brom v Arsenal and Liverpool v Sunderland - as well as scoring on the glut of Championship, League One, League Two and SPL action, and the wise words of our very own Jim White.